PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL has 53 former players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, surpassing the record of 50 players set in 2002-03. There are ECHL players on 28 of the 30 NHL rosters.
There have been 215 ECHL players that have advanced to the NHL. There were 90 ECHL players in the NHL in 2002-03, including 20 that made their first-ever appearance in the NHL. The 20 former ECHL players who made their NHL debut in 2002-03 are: Francois Beauchemin (Montreal), Zdenek Blatny (Atlanta), Joe Corvo (Los Angeles), Fedor Fedorov (Vancouver), Vern Fiddler (Nashville), Brian Finley (Nashville), Simon Gamache (Atlanta), Ryan Kraft (San Jose), Kent McDonell (Columbus), Brett McLean (Chicago), Rick Mrozik (Calgary), Cody Rudkowsky (St. Louis), Curtis Sanford (St. Louis), Cam Severson (Anaheim), Mike Siklenka (Philadelphia), Chris Schmidt (Los Angeles), Jerred Smithson (Los Angeles), Tim Thomas (Boston), John Tripp (New York Rangers) and Matt Walker (St. Louis). Finley, Johan Holmqvist and Rudkowsky each played in both the ECHL and the NHL in 2002-03.
There are nine former ECHL coaches behind NHL benches, including Bruce Cassidy, who is in his second season as head coach of the Washington Capitals. Cassidy, who coached Jacksonville from 1996-98 and Trenton in 1999-2000, became the third former ECHL coach to become an NHL head coach, joining Peter Laviolette, who coached Wheeling of the ECHL in 1997-98 and the New York Islanders of the NHL in 2001-03, and Dave Allison, who coached Richmond in the ECHL from 1990-92 and Ottawa of the NHL for 25 games in 1995-96.
For the fourth consecutive year, a former ECHL player is a member of the Stanley Cup Champion. In 2003, New Jersey backup goaltender Corey Schwab became the sixth ECHL alumnus to hoist the Stanley Cup joining former ECHL players Manny Legace (Detroit, 2002), David Aebischer and Nolan Pratt (Colorado, 2001), Krzysztof Oliwa (New Jersey, 2000), and Kevin Dean (New Jersey, 1995).
Former ECHL Coaches and Players In NHL On Opening Day:
Anaheim – Lance Ward (Miami, 1998-99) and Garrett Burnett (Nashville, 1995-97; Jacksonville, 1995-96; Johnstown, 1997-98).
Atlanta – Serge Aubin (Hampton Roads, 1995-96), Jeff Cowan (Roanoke, 1996-97), and Byron Dafoe (Hampton Roads, 1991-92).
Boston – Assistant Coach Wayne Cashman (Pensacola, 1999-2000).
Buffalo – Assistant Coach Brian McCutcheon (Columbus (Ohio), 1996-97), Martin Biron (South Carolina, 1997-98), and *Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98 and Florida, 1998-99).
Calgary – Assistant Coach Jim Playfair (Dayton, 1994-95), Jamie McLennan (Richmond, 1991-92), and Krzysztof Oliwa (Raleigh, 1993-96).
Carolina – Jesse Boulerice (New Orleans, 1998-99 and Trenton, 1999-2000) and *Bob Boughner (Toledo, 1991-92).
Chicago – Steve Poapst (Hampton Roads, 1991-93).
Colorado – David Aebischer (Chesapeake and Wheeling, 1997-98).
Columbus – Sean Pronger (Greensboro and Knoxville, 1994-95), Derrick Walser (Johnstown, 1998-2000) and Jody Shelley (Johnstown, 1998-2000).
Dallas – Aaron Downey (Hampton Roads, 1995-97).
Detroit – Manny Legace (Richmond, 1996-97).
Edmonton – Assistant Coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1996-97) and Scott Ferguson (Wheeling, 1994-95).
Florida – Assistant Coach John Torchetti (Carolina, 1988-98; Winston-Salem, 1989-91; Greensboro, 1993-95), and Steve Shields (South Carolina, 1994-95).
Los Angeles – Joe Corvo (Hampton Roads, 1998-99).
Minnesota – Andrew Brunette (Hampton Roads, 1993-94), Antti Laaksonen (Charlotte, 1997-98) and Jeremy Stevenson (Greensboro, 1994-95).
Montreal – *Darren Langdon (Dayton, 1992-93), Gordie Dwyer (New Orleans, 1998-99), and Francis Bouillon (Wheeling, 1996-97).
Nashville – Assistant Coach Peter Horachek (Louisville, 1990-91 and Trenton, 2001-02), Tomas Vokoun (Wheeling, 1995-96), Jan Lasak (Hampton Roads, 1999-2000), Vern Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02).
New Jersey – Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92).
New York Islanders – Eric Cairns (Birmingham, 1994-95 and Charlotte, 1995-96).
New York Rangers – Dale Purinton (Charlotte, 1997-98) and Mike Siklenka (Hampton, 1999-2000 and Richmond, 2000-02).
Ottawa – Assistant Coach Don Jackson (Knoxville, 1990-91), Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-2000), Shane Hnidy (Baton Rouge, 1996-97) and Patrick Lalime (Hampton Roads, 1994-95).
Philadelphia – Todd Fedoruk (Trenton, 1999-2000).
Phoenix – Tyson Nash (Raleigh, 1995-96) and Zac Bierk (Augusta, 2001-02).
Pittsburgh – Dan Focht (Mississippi, 1998-2000) and J-S Aubin (Dayton, 1997-98).
St. Louis – Strength Coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91), Alexander Khavanov (Birmingham and Raleigh, 1992-93), Reed Low (Baton Rouge, 1997-98), *Matt Walker (Peoria, 2000-01) and *Eric Boguniecki (Dayton, 1997-98).
Tampa Bay – Ruslan Fedotenko (Trenton, 1999-2000), Andre Roy (Charlotte, 1997-98) and Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 1995-96).
Toronto – Nathan Perrott (Jacksonville, 1997-98).
Vancouver – Assistant Coach Barry Smith (Erie, 1992-96 and Baton Rouge, 1997-2000) and Johan Hedberg (Baton Rouge, 1997-98).
Washington – Coach Bruce Cassidy (Jacksonville, 1996-98 and Trenton, 1999-2000), Sebastien Charpentier (Hampton Roads, 1997-98), and Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92).
* – Injury Reserve List